On 3/2, the Portland Youth Philharmonic gave their annual Winter Concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert hall in downtown Portland. We performed Bergsma’s Chameleon Variations which was originally premiered by PYP. The piece contains an introduction, which states a quiet version of the principal theme, and presents the formal structure which the variations will follow: seven variations and a finale. These are played without pause. The variations contrast with each other, but are so placed as to present the outline of a condensed symphony. Variations I, II and III are three kinds of Allegro; Variations IV and V, two kinds of slow movement; Variations VI and VII, two kinds of scherzo; the Finale is a finale.
We also performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6, “Pathetique”. This was an immensely difficult work to prepare and perform. Written in 1893, this symphony is extremely deep, emotional, tragic, and depressed throughout (Pathetique translates to passionate). Tchaikovsky died under mysterious circumstances 4 days after writing this Symphony, and some people consider this piece to be a death statement. It is certainly an extremely demanding work for the orchestra.
Also on the program was the Mendelssohn Violin performed by Rachel Graves, 2012 Concerto Competition winner and co-assistant concertmaster. Her performance was very warmly received. It was very helpful for me to play the orchestral part because I am working on the 3rd movement of Mendelssohn. I learned what the parts in the orchestra are doing at certain moments in the music, and I can compare the 1st violin part to the solo part. Normally I study the score to any piece I am working on, but this was very helpful because I was actively participating in the accompaniment. Now we are working on the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, which makes Tchaikovsky no. 6 seem very simple to play 🙂